Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/113

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  1. 故迂其途而誘之以利後人發先人至此知迂直之計者也


can be turned into actual advantage by celerity of movement.” Signal examples of this saying are afforded by the two famous passages across the Alps — that of Hannibal, which laid Italy at his mercy, and that of Napoleon two thousand years later, which resulted in the great victory of Marengo.


4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation.

Chia Lin understands as the enemy’s line of march, thus: “If our adversary’s course is really a short one, and we can manage to divert him from it (迂之) if either by simulating weakness or by holding out some small advantage, we shall be able to beat him in the race for good positions.” This is quite a defensible view, though not adopted by any other commentator. of course = , and and are to be taken as verbs. Tu Mu cites the famous march of 趙奢 Chao Shê in 270 B.C. to relieve the town of 閼與 O-yü, which was closely invested by a Ch‘in army. [It should be noted that the above is the correct pronunciation of 閼與, as given in the commentary on the Ch‘ien Han Shu, ch. 34. Giles’ dictionary gives “Yü-yü,” and Chavannes, I know not on what authority, prefers to write “Yen-yü.” The name is omitted altogether from Playfair’s “Cities and Towns.”] The King of Chao first consulted 廉頗 Lien P‘o on the advisability of attempting a relief, but the latter thought the distance too great, and the intervening country too rugged and difficult. His Majesty then turned to Chao Shê, who fully admitted the hazardous nature of the march, but finally said: “We shall be like two rats fighting in a hole — and the pluckier one will win!” So he left the capital with his army, but had only gone a distance of 30 li when he stopped and began throwing up intrenchments. For 28 days he continued strengthening his fortifications, and took care that spies should carry the intelligence to the enemy. The Ch‘in general was overjoyed, and attributed his adversary’s tardiness to the fact that the beleaguered city was in the Han State, and thus not actually part of Chao territory. But the spies had no sooner departed than Chao Shê began a forced march lasting for two days and one night, and arrived on the scene of action with such astonishing rapidity that he was able to occupy a commanding position on the 北山 “North hill” before the enemy